If you’re in the medical field, your job is simple to define. If you’re in education, it’s easy to explain what you do. And if you’re in criminal justice, the same is true..
But how do you define what someone with a public relations degree does? Some who are PR majors, or have even graduated with this degree, have difficulty describing it.
According to a September LinkedIn poll, an online survey conducted by Opinium Research found that “Public Relations Manager” ranked among the top 10 most misunderstood jobs. The job comes in seventh place, with 42 percent of parents of their sons or daughters who work in this position unaware of what their offspring actually does for a living:
This study is interesting, considering that this area of employment is expected to grow 21 percent by 2020 — among the fastest growing occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Communication is also among one of the top 10 majors studied at universities, according to The Princeton Review. You would think that with this much growth, there would be less confusion about the activities the title entails.
So what’s the answer? In actuality, a public relations specialist may even work harder or experience more stress than a surgeon, teacher or officer and still be unable to produce tangible results that provide insight as to what they do. This seems unfair, but one of the toughest aspects of this profession is proving your value to your company or client.
Making the case for how much your employer actually needs you is a result of substantial research that should eventually measure the intangible questions that public relations practitioners deal with every day, which include perception, portrayal and public awareness of your company/client.
But it is also our job as candidates for public relations occupations to educate the rest of the world about what we do and why our role is vital to the success of many companies.
What do you think of the findings of this report? How does it reflect on people in the public relations industry that their career is ranked on this list? How do we change this perception of our industry?